THE Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, has issued a landmark ruling in favour of German cities legally banning older diesel vehicles from entering zones worst affected by pollution.
The decision was influenced heavily by environmental activists, who had been advocating for cleaner air in the highly polluted cities of Dusseldorf and Stuttgart.
Juergen Resch, the managing director of DUH – a key environmental group in the ruling – said: “This is a great day for clean air in Germany.”
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Others disagreed, however, namely politicians and business lobbies, who said millions of drivers could be out of pocket if their vehicles are unable to be legally used.
“Driving bans have a massive impact on our ownership rights, on mobility and on our profession,” said Hans Peter Wollseifer, president of the association of German tradesmen. “The carmakers are to blame for the diesel problem, not us tradesmen.”
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Transport Minister Christian Schmidt added: “We must do everything possible to prevent the loss of personal freedom and the reduction in value of cars.”
The ruling bans any diesel-powered vehicle built before 2015 from entering city centres, unless the affected vehicles are upgraded to meet stringent emissions regulations.
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Due to high levels of nitrogen oxide, diesel exhaust fumes are known to cause respiratory disease.
The decision is currently under appeal. If the ruling is upheld, enforcing the ban opens up another can of worms, with German police warning it doesn’t have the capacity to enforce such a ban.